Disorderly Conduct in Washington State
Disorderly conduct laws are in place to protect the public from being disturbed by obnoxious or unruly behavior, so there are several situations in which a person can be charged with this crime. Under Washington State Law RCW 9A.84.020, a person can be charged with disorderly conduct for any of the following actions:
- Using abusive language that creates a risk of assault
- Disrupting any lawful assembly or meeting
- Intentionally obstructing traffic without authority
- Intentionally engaging in disruptive behavior, such as fighting or making loud noises, within 500 feet of a funeral, burial, viewing, funeral procession, or memorial service
Disorderly conduct is a misdemeanor and carries a maximum penalty of 90 days in jail and/or a $1,000 fine.
How is Disorderly Conduct Different from Harassment?
A similar crime to disorderly conduct is harassment. According to RCW 9A.46.020, one of the ways for a person to be guilty of harassment is that they must knowingly threaten to cause bodily injury immediately or in the future to the person threatened.
The difference between the two charges is that a person engaging in disorderly conduct intentionally creates the possibility of an assault by using abusive words, whereas harassment results from a person specifically threatening to harm another.
Discerning whether a crime should be charged as disorderly conduct or harassment can be difficult. Harassment is a gross misdemeanor and carries a larger maximum penalty of 364 days in jail and a $5,000 fine. Regardless, it is best to avoid any type of altercation with another person and to avoid causing a public disturbance.
Contact Us for Assistance in Your Disorderly Conduct Case
If you have been charged with disorderly conduct, it is not a hopeless situation. There are things you and your attorney can do to try to get through this situation as easily as possible. If you have been arrested or investigated for disorderly conduct, give our office a call at (425) 224-7075. We will listen to you, answer your questions, ease your stress, and resolve your case.
Owner and principal attorney Lance Fryrear of The Law Offices of Lance Fryrear has defended the accused in Lynnwood and throughout Washington for the past 20 years. We will be sensitive and careful every step of the way, doing everything we can to help and support you.
Give us a call at (425) 224-7075 to learn more!